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“Choosing which films to show was part of a complicated process that involved many people from all walks of life,” said Festival Director, Chris Shoemaker. “We had 45 jurists this year who were locked up for a weekend watching film after film. “

“Most of the festival’s films will be rated G or PG, with an occasional PG-13 rated entry. Our guidelines are no gratuitous sex or violence, extreme language or drug abuse,” Shoemaker said. That’s not to say they’re looking for ‘undemanding’ or boring films, he quickly explained. “What we are keen on, however, are films that are loaded with conflict. We want conflict-laden films that spark your imagination and generate dialogue, yet reveal positive values in society.”
- Santa Clarita, Today Magazine, Daily News/Los Angeles, July 2004

Chris Shoemaker, executive director and co-founder of IFFF, discussed the momentum IFFF is gaining with new membership packages and a new foundation. Shoemaker explained that while the vital part of the mission of IFFF is to avoid gratuitous sex, violence and vulgar language, the goal of IFFF is to encourage filmmakers to create films that move and entertain audiences.

Shoemaker said he is looking forward to IFFF’s first annual fundraiser coming up at Saugus Speedway May 6 – 9. This exciting new fundraiser will help the festival grow so more people can be aware of what a great benefit the IFFF is to the community.

The IFFF is a “reel” gem you won’t want to miss, so hurry down to the Edwards Canyon Country 10 and become a part of the excitement of this colorful cutting-edge event. You’ll be glad you did.
- The Signal, April 28, 2004

“We ask of independent and studio filmmakers, their films, screenplays and all the programs presented during the festival to somehow entertain, engage and further educate us about ourselves,” festival executive director and co-founder Chris Shoemaker said in a prepared statement. “By seeing how family is experienced and expressed by others, we may indeed gain new perceptions and insights into the family we call our own.”
- Daily News, Santa Clarita Edition, April 22, 2004

“What I like about film is that no two people ever experience the same film in the same way,” said Chris Shoemaker, Executive Director and Cofounder of the International Family Film Festival (IFFF) in Santa Clarita. “We all sift the same film through our unique personalities, mental and spiritual networks.”

Shoemaker has been with the IFFF since its inception 10 years ago, and since then, it has offered plenty of films for families to sift through together – this year is no exception.
- Valley Scene Magazine, West Hills, CA, April 16-19, 2004

Chris Shoemaker, executive director of IFFF said this year’s fest will offer more films that ever.
“Submissions are up 40% from all previous years,” Shoemaker said. “Overall quality and diversity of our independent and student produced films is way up this year and it has raised the bar.”
- The Signal (Escape Section), April 4, 2003

Q & A. CHRIS SHOEMAKER. BICFF’s co-founder speaks out on kid moviemakers and the comeback of family films.

People 12 and younger are underserved – both as an audience and as filmmakers. We wanted to create a viable opportunity for them to be seen and heard, and we felt that a film festival coming out of the heart of the production capital of the world would be a natural – because so many extraordinary resources and so much talent is here. Family film bell by the wayside in the late 1980s and early ‘90s, when the public taste ran to sex, violence and hard-edged adult themes, but now there’s a movement back to entertainment the entire family can enjoy.

The BICFF gives the film and entertainment industry a chance to peek into the minds of children and perhaps better understand their current perspective on the world. That may result in films that are more relevant for today’s kids.
- The Hollywood Reporter, October 13 – 15, 2000

Shoemaker thinks Burbank is the ideal place for a new festival that showcases high-quality films for children. As he points out, Burbak is home to many of the world’s leading producers and distributors of children’s entertainment.

“This idea seems like such a natural,” says Shoemaker. “Here we are in Burbank – it’s a factory for children’s entertainment – and yet there’s no showcase or forum for celebrating that. It seemed only fitting to have a children’s film festival here.”
- The Los Angeles Times, June 30, 2000

Burbank’s first International Children’s Film Festival – a weeklong event that featured screenings of more than 60 undistributed feature-length films and shorts at the AMC Theatres in the Media City Center – intentionally put the focus on those under 18.

“Our initial idea was to have a place where professionals working in the industry who are interested in children’s issues can network and come together,” said Suzanne Shoemaker, who handled business development for the festival. “We’ve created a very active, alive forum.”
- L.A. stories, Los Angeles Business Journal, Oct. 23-29, 2000

Their work ranges from animation, advertising and marketing, choreography, illustration, theatrical directing and producing, to musical composition, design and drafting, as well as writing, film and video production.

According to Chris and Suzanne, their interest in the varied and unique industry of entertainment was drawn from their background in theatre production.

"We ame from the theater,” Chris said. “Our background is in producing, writing and directing.” Suzanne went on to describe how their theatrical experience relates to, and enhances, their current entertainment developments.

“In theater, it’s all collaborative. From script writing to set design to directing, it all comes together as one fully developed project in the end,” she adds.
- Santa Clarita Valley Living, May 1998

It was more like the State Fair than an affair of state.

National politics resembled a demolition derby Saturday as the Senate impeachment gtrial preoccupied offical Washingtron. But the mood of the electorate in Minnesota was jubilant. Some 14,000 well-wishers mobbede Target Center to cheer Gov. Jesse Ventura and Lt. Gov. Mae Schunk at “The People’s Celebration.”

“ This is a once-in-a-lifetime event,” said Vic Jorges of Anoka, a supervisor for Weyerhaeuser Corp. He praised the governor as “a rebel who’ll shake things up.”

Indeed, the event was a mixture of Ventura celebration and Vikings pep rally. Vikings cheerleaders were on hand to do their routines, and Vikings owner Red McCombs was among the speakers

Throughout the nearly five-hour celebration, many of the partygoers seemed to have no clue who was who among the performers. For many of these Main Streeters and some of the outsiders, it was their inauguration to the joys of Minnesota music.
- Star Tribune, Newspaper of the Twin Cities, January 17, 1999

The 4-year-old festival, which runs through Friday, claims tiutle to being the only “family” film festival in the country. “This year’s 44 films, documentaries and animation specials,” said Shoemaker, “all celebrate the positive themes such as families and the human spirit.”

“ They’re looking for stuff with profanity, violence, drugs and sex,” Bona said.

Still, such comments don’t bother Shoemaker. He is convinced that an intelligent movie can entertain adults and children.

“ The key, festival organizers say, is a strong plot and realistic characters-elements sometimes ignored by Hollywood.”
- Los Angeles Times, February 9, 1998

Mystique, an electrifying new production...that will astound you with its magnificent effects, brilliant visuals, and thrilling acrobatics and choreography.
Cruise News, Junly 1995

Mystique is a ground breaking show for Princess Cruises. Acts of Creation has created some of the most powerful theater ever seen on the stages of cruise ships.
Cruise Travel, August 1995

“ It’s one of the best kept secrets of the Santa Clarita Valley that so many of the residents are animators, writers, directors, producers or other film-industry workers,” said Chris Shoemaker, the event’s executive director. “And also that more than 50 percent of the permits issued for filming in Los Angeles County are for productions shot in the Santa Clarita Valley.”
- L.A. LIFE, Daily News, February 5, 1997

Now in its third year, The Santa Clarita International Film Festival under the watchful eye of Executive Director, Chris Shoemaker, is making a statement in Hollywood and creating a warm and friendly place for family films from around the world.”
- L. A. Life, LA Times, feature Story. April 12, 1996

Family is as loaded a term as you’ll hear in America today, and Shoemaker is quick to say that the festival uses it in the broadest sense. When some people hear family entertainment, he says, “they immediately feel there’s going to be no conflict, that it’s going to be sugary sweet.” Not so. The film festival would love to have a “Mrs. Doubtfire” or “Shawshank Redemption,” says Shoemaker.
- Los Angeles Times, Calendar, September 21, 1995

Through the determination of a group that refers to itself as “worker bees” that just don’t understand the meaning of the word ‘No’, the first ever Santa Clarita Valley International Film Festival will kick off March 18, 1994.

“ We decided not to wait for years to wade through all the bureaucracy,” said Chris Shoemaker, who with his wife Suzanne, serves as the festival’s executive director. “We’re bucking the system. We’re taking a proactive approach in a proactive city to create an event that the city and film community can be proud of.”
- The Signal (Lifestyle), Santa Clarita, CA. January 12, 1994

Students at Boquet Canyon Elementary School went on a different kind of scavenger hunt Wednesday, looking for leaves and rocks instead of paper clips and cotton balls.

“ This is to teach them to look at their everyday environment,” explained Suzanne, who assumes the role of “Nature Nancey.” “It’s nice to get back to nature.”

Sixth-grade teacher Sandy Magier said she likes the program because it fits well with the science and social studies curriculum. “They’re (Shoemakers) completely involved,” she said. “It helps them appreciate nature and other cultures.”
“ It was really interesting,” said 11-year-old Jennifer Cocks. “These people came and they knew about nature. They showed us how important it is. If it wasn’t here, we wouldn’t be living here.”

Fifth-grader Tommy Vukelich said he too appreciated the role of nature and enjoyed the tour around school. “It was neat because you got to plant a tree and look at nature all over the place,” he said.
- The Signal, Santa Clartia, CA. September 29, 1994.

One of their Chinese friends from the University in Wuhan, in east-central China, also has fond memories of the Shoemakers. “At that time we were working together in an entertainment project in China. They were very active in Theater and Drama and Film, as well. I came to the US to study because of their friendship and the inspiration they gave me.”

“ China taught us a lot about the human spirit,” said Chris Shoemaker. “They have so little but they do so much. They don’t have 50 brands of cereal but they get full value of what they do have.”

Nani Lim Yap, an instructor for Halau Hula Na Lei O Kaholoku, a traditional hula troupe based in Hawaii. She first met Suzanne at the University of Hawaii at manoa. At the time, Shoemaker was working in Continuing Education overseeing the Fine Arts and Entertainment. “The Shoemakers may not be experts themselves in various ethnic, performing arts,” Yap said, “but they care about the different cultures because of their diversity and background. They are both very talented people.”
Daily News, L.A. LIFE, July 12, 1993

At Six Flags Magic Mountain, the fright fest takes place Saturday, Sunday and the following weekend when the Valencia park is transformed into a ghostly fun zone complete with costumed creatures, scary live shows and other seasonal specialties. Children’s daytime activities include “Jack & Jill’s Enchanted Caverns, a walk-through enchanted cavern…a truly spectacular trick or treat adventure where Jack and Jill introduce young guests to many new fairy tale friends within a magical cavern.
- L.A. Life Weekend, Daily News. October 22, 1993

Ask the Shoemakers what they do and you’re guaranteed to get more than a simple answer of, “We produce shows.” They educate. They enlighten. They produce jobs where before there were none. They coach. And above all, they have fun.

“ We believe in communicating through celebration,” Chris Shoemaker says.

Their shows explode with color, light and music. Rather than just putting together a historical play about an area, Acts of Creation incorporates music and dance intrinsic to the town, country or region.
- The Signal, Santa Clarita Valley Business, August 1, 1993

Picture the haole man from the Mainland working with brown skinned boys and girls from the Philipines and trying to acculturate them into the Hawaiian/American society. Chris Shoemaker, who lives in Kalama Valley, doesn’t miss the irony of his situation. But given his background and travel experience, it all seems quite natural that he was chosen to teach in the Youth at Risk program.

“ Everyone should experience what it’s like to be in the minority at least once in their life,” Shoemaker said, adding that his life abroad gave him a clear understanding of the adjustments the kids he works with must go through.
- Hawaii Kai/East Oahu Sun Press, March 7-13, 1991

The play is directed by Suzanne Blackburn (Shoemaker) who came to Paris six months ago from a secure job at The Ohio State University with a well-established reputation as a director to study acting at the Jacques LeCoq School.

The three actors perform an adroit choreography of physical and emotional juggling.

Christopher Shoemaker plays the part of Hally, or Master Harold, the scared 17-year old struggling with shame, frustration and growing pains. He is irritatingly and appealingly convincing, enough to inspire one with the urge to both shake him and embrace him.

The resulting play is an experience not to be missed, and for the general public, not just the English speakers, as Fugard’s work and style is based on gesture and expression rather than words.
The Paris Free Voice, February 1987